Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

5/5 – Rejection: Victor Gollancz Ltd. Publishers

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

TO GO STRAIGHT TO THE VIDEO CLICK HERE





Victor Gollancz Ltd, UK Publishers, once wrote in rejecting my novel Self-Portrait of Someone Else: “I was very struck by it; it’s an extraordinarily powerful piece of work.”


Here’s the actual letter:






The letter in pdf:
Victor Gollancz Ltd. rejection letter in pdf





I can take the pain. Here’s a one-minute video to prove it: CLICK HERE TO WATCH


Find the book here: “SELF-PORTRAIT OF SOMEONE ELSE






This is the fifth (and last) in a video series of this great, good book getting its backside kicked. Onward to indie publishing.


Here’s the previous video I did on this theme….

1/5 – Rejection Letter—Grafton Books

Friday, July 23rd, 2010



Writers are always rejected, or their manuscripts are. This comes under the heading of, Things As They Are. The rejection does not stop, and oddly apologies rarely follow.



Way back when my first novel, “Self-Portrait of Someone Else”, was published by Viking-Penguin, New York, my literary agent at that time, Peter Lampack Literary Agency, set out to sell this self-same manuscript to a number of publishers based in the United Kingdom. It was the next step in my conquering the world.


As the refusals full of praise and regret came in, copies of the letters were kindly forwarded to me. To give equal measures of hope and despair, as these letters contained some of the best reviews/comments this novel ever received.



Now, with the novel re-issued under my own imprint, hidden people limited, I thought, in the interests of writerly retro-masochism and in a spirit of fun, I could construct some short videos around five of the rejection letters.


This first one I’m releasing was from Grafton Books. This editor thought I had a heck of future ahead of me. Well, twenty years later, my future came and went and I gave it a friendly wave at it as it passed by. Today my publishing future is pinging about on a different level of hustle and gumption.


If you want to read the actual letter, I put it into a pdf file and it is right here: Grafton Book Rejection Letter



Here’s THE VIDEO LINK! Enjoy. Leave comments on this site just below, or on the YouTube channel.


Thanks for reading.


Oh, and if you never saw my original launch video for this book, CLICK HERE TO VIEW, or the video where I read some real newspaper reviews this novel received, including from the New York Sunday Review of Books, CLICK HERE to view.


Thanks for reading and seeing and coming ’round. VE


P.S. Oh, if, in case, who knows, if you’re not the proud owner of your very own copy, CLICK HERE TO HAVE A CLOSER LOOK, read excerpts, hear audio excerpts, and links to Amazon where the book is available as print and via Kindle….

Man, this one-man indie publishing business is a time suck yet leaves a smile on one’s face.

Thursday, July 1st, 2010



I knew coming in to this publishing business it would not be a barrel of laughs or necessarily a thing a beauty, but it could turn into a joy forever.


Having spent a decade in international publishing, and over a couple of decades outside looking in the traditional publishing houses, I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into. But it’s always more than the carefully researched, optimistic planning allows.


Since publishing my second book (really, re-issuing “Self-Portrait of Someone Else”), these are most of the steps I’ve needed doing since:


1.) Tidying up next book (the novella “Brussegem, a snug hell”), getting its ISBN number, and registering it with my print company. Then working the cover. Requesting feedback from trusted folks. Re-briefing designer. Announcing a February launch date that came and went, because….


2.) I needed to stand back and understand what I was supposed to be learning from my first two book launches. I had my 26 steps check-list from book inception to continuing promotion, but the timing was off some because of the unexpected making itself known. This was…


3.) I should be releasing three formats for a single title simultaneously: the print book, the ebook, the audio book, so readers had a choice from the get-go. I had mostly concentrated on the print, knowing I’d be playing catch up with the other two formats. Which meant….


4.) Recording and editing the audio books, which takes up humongous amounts of time. To get it right. It’s a lot of fun, the performance and interpreting,but it’s second-by-second work, that leads to days and weeks. And since I do this as a professional voice over, there’s the happy work of getting it right. And so there follows….


5.) Ebook (Kindle & iPad included) that are a pain to format properly. Especially as I had lots of footnotes in “How to Find Yourself (or a reasonable facsimile)” that are just not respected or possible in most ebook formats yet. And that means reformatting, giving the book a slightly 2nd level feel to the read than the print version, then re-reading, checking, and for a low-grade proof-reader such as myself, it’s not easy going.


5a.) Researching where to place the ebooks as there are a dozen and so much more ebook sites, and then promoting on each (jump up and down saying Look at me!) like mad, or at least consistently.


6.) Getting time to investigate different online book clubs to introduce the novels to, and then promoting on each (jump up and down saying Look at me!) like mad, or at least consistently.


7.) Making the video(s) to attract happy attention, as opposed to old style Buy This Sucker commercial videos, of which I have no interest. And as someone who has made his living in marketing communications, I know the edge between selling and its possible ugliness. But each video meant coming up with the idea, writing the script, shooting the video, editing it, adding the right soundtrack, posting it on YouTube, letting people know, and then know some more. And then repeat, time after time.


8.) Research various free newsletter lists so I can offer opt-in/opt-out choice so people who want receive regular updates concerning my work can, or refuse. I have a number of sites I need to check out, some cost, some don’t, and need clear understanding before committing. Nothing worse than creating an email list, then have to change for a negative reason.


9.) How to embed a click-able web site link in videos to allow anybody who sees the wonders of a book I have described in a video I made, click right to the publishing page and buy it. Have half a dozen YouTube How To on that I need to find time to review, then implement.


10.) Review tons of sites on ebook developments and new sites to sell my stuff on. I have 40-50 of these to review. Just can’t throw them everywhere, because some are quality, lots ain’t.


11.) Research sites where I can post my audio books when they are completed. Again, new ones, learning from old ones, pop up and need exploring. And exploring, again, needs time, time, time.


12.) Get more fans, or Like people, onto my Facebook site. And view some How To videoing in personalizing the Facebook page.


13.) Write some fiction, do some storytelling, because that’s what it’s all about in the end.


14.) Continue developing relationships with seven different graphic designers the world over to launch a line of fabrics for fun, stories on stuff. Which means, beside developing ideas, also checking the various POD sites for t-shirts and spin-offs, and making the contacts and then contracts. Again, who is great, who is environmentally great, which have international print outlets, and so on.


15.) Look into authors’ exchange efforts.


16.) Write a blog. Then another. Repeat. Stick to a schedule.


17.) Take looks at the 100 blogs I follow.


18.) Check my Twitter feed. And Facebook updates.


19.) Get closer with Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Book, Book Depository, et al.


20.) And write more fiction, develop scripts, work with illustrator for my children’s book, another for the upcoming illustrated version of How To Find Yourself, and others for one-offs and series…


21.) Jobs outside publishing that come in and need fairly immediate attention that throws all the above back a bit.


22.) I am also the reader acquisition go-to guy.


23.) Look around my room to see whether there’s anyone I can delegate any of this to. See no one.


24.) Review and comment on play representation scripts.


25.) Also make the tea.


And that’s a hint of what’s involved, mostly, in running a this independent online publishing company on the run, eight months from opening up shop.

Part Three, 3.1, audio book excerpt from “Self-Portrait of Someone Else”

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Podcast image
This audio excerpt from PART THREE, CHAPTER 3 of my novel “Self-Portrait of Someone Else”, and is around 18 minutes or so in length. The second part of this chapter (3.2) will appear next week.


If you want to listen or download, click here:
27 – PART THREE – 3.1 – Self-Portrait of Someone Else

I hope you enjoy this, and thanks for listening.

Reflections on the International London Book Fair, 2010

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I attended the International London Book Fair last week (and due to the Icelandic ash cloud, it was slightly less international than usual). Here’s some of what I did, saw, and got in my brain.


As an author who has launched a currently small independent publishing concern but with ten plus in-house years of experience in international publishing (and a lifetime of writing), and in attending the fair (which I had done a number of times previously) my interest this time around was in the electronic side of things. I am a PoD publisher, with eBooks and audio not only part of the package, but I believe eventually the bulk of the package.


I attended a number of seminars. The first seminar I wanted to hit was titled “Children’s Bookfutures: Children’s Literature & Digital Imagination”. As this was one of the first seminars on the first day, I was given crap directions by someone at the info desk who pointed my in the wrong direction with far too many stairs. I was three minutes late, and met a guy blocking the door: “There is no more room”.


I was not late to the next seminar (see below, title and panel names).
Winner losers in dig jungle slide names
They spoke of the importance of METADATA (this came up a lot), and that one should put an ebook in every possible channel, and APPS (again, many mentions) were the ruling prize while perhaps the 300 pages book had been a 20th century concept as the perfect sized book for commercial publishing but was meeting its death. Novellas may very well be the new ebook rule.


My next seminar, the opening slide of the speakers for this ILBF seminar. Guess what?
Vook no show slide of names


Vook no show seats
No one showed up — not a one. All ash damaged. And the rather sparse audience was only informed at the moment the show was supposed to roll, rather than informing us as we arrived. We sat there stupidly we hope in our hearts.


I had actually arranged to have a meeting with Brad Inman, the CEO of Vook, who was still in California. Vooks, for you all, is: “You can read your book, watch videos that enhance the story and connect with authors and your friends through social media all on one screen, without switching between platforms.”


Because I use words, images and performance for many of my stories, initially I was hugely interested in the “enhanced” multimedia e-books. Wowie-zowie, I can combine all of what I do. However, the more I researched it, the more I thought, One, I don’t really see a reader demand and yearning for it, and Two, an enhanced ebook already exists, and even available through mobile devices; it’s called a Web Site. So I have a big Hold On with this perhaps wishful development.


The whole point of fiction is the individual voice of the author speaking directly to the single imagination of the reader. The reader imagines through the author’s words the world of the novel or story. Add images, videos and voices and it may be more of an invasion than an enhancement, distorting, and in a way, narrowing what the individual mind can conjure. (Novels into films are the obvious metaphor: how many times has a viewer who was a fan of a book said, after seeing the movie adaptation: “I didn’t see it like that at all.”


In short, the author’s best tool is the individual reader’s imagination, and the choosing of the right words to spark the imagination. The rest can be clutter. I remain intrigued, and see possibilities, but perhaps not for most fiction.


Anyway, I had a sudden empty part schedule so visited the floor. Not a lot of action, but I did locate my PoD publisher, Lighting Source, owned by Ingram’s. Eleven years ago, when I already researching this independent publishing idea, I had attended the fair (and to see my now ex-literary agent) and their booth at that time had been tiny, one Vice President manned minor place tucked away in a maze of tiny, ghetto booths.


Amazing what a decade and a revolution can do. Here’s the booth this year:
Ingram booth 1
Ingram booth 2
Ingram booth 3


And surrounding this booth were these guys:
Little brown booth
HarperCollins booth
Penguin booth


And these were circling Ingram’s. PoD was no longer tucked away, but, symbolically, interestingly, it was at the center, surrounded by the others, the traditional industry.


A repeated phrase, from authors to publishers themselves, when it came to the changes overtaking the industry was: “Publishers don’t know anything.” It was judged that traditional publishers have neither the skills nor staff to make the sudden changes necessary to turn around toward digitalization and the ebook.


I turned up at another, less pertinent seminar for me on graphic novels and the digital world (but since I’d been locked out of the children’s seminar, I’d try this one). Here’s the panel:
Graphic novels to digital - panel names slide 3
Graphic novels to digital - panel 1
Graphic novels to digital - panel 2


This was a lively one. I was most familiar with Ian Rankin from television culture shows (he was one of those who said, Publishers don’t no nothing, like Hollywood execs”) but not his books.


iPad and Kindle were the reoccurring companions in the e-babble, but they may very well be a short term book-focused e-readers. They have, what, 10 million sold to date? The real action, the future-perfect, are handheld mobile devices: your phone. There are 2.7 plus billion sold. Currently Nokia, Samsung, etc., are all developing combined phones-ebook readers-game/playing-waffle-makers (joke) etc. with launch dates in 6-12 months time. Literary agents may end up have auctions on rights not with Random House and HarperCollins but Nokia et al for, say, the exclusive 3-month launch of the next Stephen King kind of novel on their mobile device before distribution goes wide.


Of course, versions 1 and 2 of e-anything are only development and not definitive, so it’ll be a couple a versions on, in 2-3 years, before it shakes out…


I also spotted at this seminar a “Facebook friend” and “Twitter” follower, Nick Harkaway, who wrote this book:
The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway - book cover


And here’s his signature:
Nick Harkaway signiture of "The Gone-Away World"
I almost went up to him to say, Hi, we’re fellow Twitter-followers and Facebook friends and I sent you a message two weeks ago wondering whether you were going to speak this year as you did last year on Social Media, but you aren’t, and you replied you were waiting for the invite and…” and my imagined confab went nowhere, except into stilted awkwardness, so I didn’t approach. Virtual nodding acquaintance is it.


The best seminar for me was this one:
Audio publishing for books read by authors
Ebook info slide - audible
Audible is still the best for getting your/my audio out there and into the ears of happy (willing) listeners. The seminar wasn’t greatly attended, but greatly appreciated by me.


After all this, I needed a massage. They have this row of young ladies ready to give a neck and shoulder rub for 7 minutes and you “give what you want”:
Massage 2
Massage 3
And here’s the one who relaxed me tensed muscles for a bit:
Massage 1


On the last day, I visited this seminar:
The Future of ebooks - ILBF 2010
The Future of ebooks - panel shot at London Book Fair 2010


Someone said 10,000 word stories will sell great in the future in ebooks. Another said the “Sunday Digital Conference had an average age attendance of 55: no one who knew what was going on was there.” Which is why I avoided it. Again, “Traditional Publishers know nothing,” the biggest cry.


Lastly, this one:
Want to be published? The rise of self-publishing.
Of little use to me, as I knew as much and more than the panel…which happened quite a bit throughout the fair, and its various seminars. I’m up to speed on a lot, following the correct industry blog, and seem to know my business fairly thoroughly. However, I would like to link Siobham Curham who has had four books conventionally published, but has turned down a two-book deal to go it on her own. She was proof of what some at this fair called “a movement for the future”, but it was happening already, and many are in major catch-up mode. That was the main rub. Many speakers were saying, “This could be happening in the near future,” while was already happening for a while, right at the show…


And here’s some general purpose shots:
ILBF - stands 1
ILBF - stands 2
ILBF - stands 3
ILBF - stands 4

Yep. A trade fair is a trade fair is a trade fair. They all look pretty much the same


And this is why, on this site, I like to just tell my stories. I don’t have a swell talent for journalism, travel writing, the exhibition visit. Where’s the story. Only facts and pointing out. I’m pointed out here.

Here’s three things concerning what I’m doing and comes straight from my “Blog About This!!!” notes.

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

future plans in storytelling + Vincent Eaton

ONE
I am currently completing the writing of a short novel (short, the only kind I like these days) called “DON’T”. About a 69 year old guy in Brussels dealing violence and urban threats, some sex, foreigners, digital photos, long-term marriage and short-term lust, a Polish cleaning lady, a comfortable sofa, robberies, hit and run accidents, haircuts and gel, police, hospitals, comas, online porn, writing workshops, possible manslaughter, navel piercing and its seems I’ve got my hands full when putting it all out there like that. Maybe it’ll be done in another couple of months? No promises. Then let it rest in a dark drawer. Thereafter, baste according to taste.


TWO
Next to be published under my hidden people company later this year is the first in my series of ARTISTS, this one called BRUSSEGEM (A Snug Hell), and after that a kid’s book called THE BOY IN THE SANDWICH. BRUSSEGEM is all proofed and copy-edited, laid out, and ready to go except for the cover. Still have to photograph the village sign of Brussegem for the cover so the graphic designer can move forward but I’ve been waiting first for the snow to melt and now waiting for the rain to stop. Everything is completed with the kid’s book, but interior layout needs fine tuning and I’m having a meeting with friend/illustrator to do an illustration for the cover as well as for each chapter…which will then turn into t-shirts and suchlike spin-offs.


THREE
I have gotten a few kind interested souls wondering on how sales actually going after “How to Find Yourself” video campaign. Ah, thanks for asking, you and whoever, but I’m not counting at this point. My POD printer and Amazon only gives a statement every quarter and pay after 60 or 90 days. I’ll see when I see, but I’ll get on the ball about this and be A Serious Business Entity. My focus right now is creation with “the rest will follow” simple-minded hopefulness attached. This indie publishing company is based on a two year build. Meanwhile, more YouTube, more blog, more stories and social media and so on and very much so forth.


P.S.
I have a pretty good story I’m posting this Friday (the less-than-600-words kind), and working on another matches video for next Wednesday and a “Self-Portrait of Someone Else” video on the reviews it received. And Don’t Don’t Don’t….

Anti-social social media, commercial need, and the storyteller

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Shine that light


What’s a guy who hates networking going to do in an online world that demands of an indie publisher/writer/maker of things to be a relentless promoter? I have been a secretive writer published by Viking-Penguin N.Y. I’ve been an international promotional copywriter. I know both worlds; does the online world demand the same impossible blending of two separate skills and/or desires?


I have a native distaste I have for personal exposure in a public place. Even if it is the online world. Yet if you don’t jump up and down and yell, I Exist! – how will anyone know I exist… what to do, how to handle?


Background sentences. I am a writer, video maker, performer, and I since this year run an online indie publishing company. Yet there’s a bigger part of me that is a writer who does not want anyone to pay attention to me; to my work, yes, if time and interest interconnect. Mostly my life is paying attention. Selecting carefully what I pay attention to. Attempting to transform that attention into something that may interest other people in the form of some sort of story.


Much online social media exposes. Being interviewed used to be the modern expression of riding down the street naked. Now it can be one’s blog, or Facebook or Twitter account. Look At Me. Blogs & Twitters: I read this, thought this, ate this, and here’s what I’m doing while waiting in an airport. I’m mainlined into the social networks just mentioned: experiencing, deciding, finding my way and my own approach. So, is turning a constant social media spotlight on oneself and shouting and semi-nagging that I am worth paying attention the way to build a “platform” when the writer, the artist, should be collecting insights and stories and producing works and not calling attention to oneself? This sort of street performing can develop into a superficial narcissism that can take over the imagination producing a dangerously enhanced ego.


I have always been bad at what is called networking, that business-based leveler of using people in social situations with a commercial purpose in mind. “I want to know you because I want something from you and I want you to want something from me.”


Nobody has to know what I think about what I do. In fact it’s probably rather important for a writer to keep their mouth shut on many levels.


At what point is “keeping in touch with your audience” online like an over-friendly neighbor knocking on your kitchen window saying, “Hi. Just wanted to see how you are. I finished mowing the lawn. You?” This can easily become anti-social social media.


That is why, after months of watching and evaluating my participation in the online world, I will focus the majority of my attention on what I pay attention to. My stories, my videos, my bits and fragments of tales and story smudges. My publications. The noises in my house.


I will happily continue online but not as a sales person oozing monetary desires. If anyone wants to know what I ate yesterday, I just flushed it down the toilet and that’s where it is going to stay.


Again, I spent over ten years in publishing as an international marketing communications manager; I know all about this promotion razzmatazz. The thing I have always liked about this online set-up is, it isn’t about selling, it’s about offering.


The idea of success on the Internet is encapsulated byDerek Powasek , and it is simple :


Make something great.
Tell people about it.
Do it again.


If you want some stories, in words, images and performance, I have some. I offer.